As previously discussed, debt collectors often engage in collection practices which are strictly prohibited under Federal Law. This blog is one in a series of blogs which will list out specific actions on the part of debt collectors which are in violation of the FDCPA and other federal statutes regulating debt collection practices. The following are some examples of limitations placed on debt collection practices:
(Debt collector can be a third party collecting on behalf of the original creditor or the owner of a loan who purchased a loan already in default from the creditor or another debt collector)
• The debt collector must tell you the amount of the debt, the name of the current creditor, and that you have 30 days to dispute the debt.
• If you don’t believe you owe the debt, think you owe a different amount, or don’t recognize the creditor, you can ask the debt collector for validation within 30 days of receiving the first debt collection letter.
• Your notice of dispute must be in writing and should be sent by certified mail.
• The debt collector cannot continue collection activities until they have responded to your dispute.
• You always have the right to tell the debt collector at any time that you dispute the debt.
Charge Collection Fees and Communication
• Debt collection agencies cannot charge interest, fees, or charges in addition to the amounts authorized by your original agreement or state law.
• You do not need to call or talk to a debt collector.
• Keep a detailed written log of all telephone communication between you and the debt collector.
• Always write down the date and time of the call, the name of the person calling, the name of the company, and the debt for which they are calling.
• If the communication is in writing, do not throw it away. Save the letter and envelope. Write the date that the letter arrived on the front of the envelope and put it somewhere safe.
• Never give your personal information to a debt collector. This includes your bank account number.
• Be careful what you agree to over the phone. The call may be recorded and whatever you say may be binding.
• If the debt is valid and you choose to make a payment, make sure all payment arrangements are in writing and that you send payments via certified mail.
• If a debt collector has left telephone messages, save them. This may be used as evidence of a violation of the FDCPA.
FDCPA makes violators responsible for up to $1000 per violation in statutory damages as well as attorney fees. If you feel like you have been a victim of any of the aforementioned violations, please contact me at 317.721.9214 or Ali@SLlawfirm.com.